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Tackling Extreme Inequality in India

February 6, 2017

Despite a substantial decline in poverty, a persistent increase in inequality in favour of the top 1 per cent of the population over the decades has been a global phenomenon. Like many other countries, it is an area of concern also for India. The problem can be addressed through initiatives of proper taxation and expenditure policies domestically; complemented by concerted effort of countries to check some transnational problems, viz. tax havens, tax dodging and tax avoidance. This would turn help create an economy whose primary purpose is to benefit the 99 per cent of humanity. Taxation policies canreduce inequality and simultaneously augment revenues to the government, which can further be invested on health and education to create equal opportunity for all.

Measurement of Domestic Violence in NFHS Surveys and Some Evidence

August 23, 2016

Successive rounds of National Family Health Surveys (NFHS) create space for deeper understanding of various aspects of domestic violence and for evidence based policy recommendations. Researchers, policy makers, NGOs should make the best use of it for policy level interventions as well as working with grass root stakeholders in pursuit of reducing domestic violence.

Fisherwomen's Cooperative in Odisha Promotes Transformative Leadership of Women's Rights

August 19, 2016

Oxfam India is part of a global movement working to fight poverty, injustice and inequality. In India, it works in six states. Oxfam India's programme on Gender Justice aims to address the deeply entrenched gender-biased social norms that are responsible for the poor status of women and girls in the society. Oxfam India's effort to address violence against women and girls is well recognised in its current strategy period of 2016-2020. Now it has been aligned with Oxfam's international strategic plan 2013-19 for which advancing gender justice is a core 'Change Goal'. Promoting transformative leadership for women's rights (TLWR) is the central objective of this change goal. This is seen as a strategy to addresses the root causes of gender inequality. Oxfam India is focusing on TLWR as an approach to gender mainstreaming.Samudram, a cooperative turned producer company, supported by Oxfam India and United Artists Association (UAA) can be seen through the TLWR lens for the changes that it has brought about in the lives of women both at home and in the community.

Strengthening Communities to Claim Community Forest Rights in Chhattisgarh

August 19, 2016

Oxfam India is part of a global movement working to fight poverty, injustice and inequality. In India, it works in six states. Oxfam India's programme on Fair Sharing of Natural Resources is aimed at marginalised communities to realise their rights through rightful access, control and sustainable management of natural resources, thereby giving them voice and agency to transform powerstructures and reduce inequality and injustice.In Chhattisgarh, Oxfam India is working with KHOJ Evam Jan Jagriti Samiti (KHOJ), in Gariyaband and Dhamtari district since 2015, and with Gram Mitra Samaj Sevi Sansthan since 2014 in Korba and Rajnandgaon districts. The focus of the work has been to secure access and entitlements of marginalised communities, especially women and Adivasis, to forest and its resources, and their management through the implementation of the Scheduled Tribes and Other Traditional Forest Dweller's (Recognition of Forest Rights) Act 2006, also known as the Forest Rights Act (FRA). These access and entitlements are critical to the well-being and livelihoods of the forest communities.

Women's Right to Agricultural Land: Removing Legal Barriers for Achieving Gender Equality

August 19, 2016

Women's land rights (WLR) have been and continue to be a live agenda in social development discourse of India. The importance of WLR has been discussed in the context of agriculture; poverty reduction; reduction in gender based violence; women's well-being and agency. There now exists a vast academic literature and experience of collective action to point that women's land rights can significantly contribute to achieving greater gender equality. The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) capture the above under three targets that are connected to the goals of ending poverty and hunger, and of achieving greater gender equality. This policy brief outlines the gaps that exist in the realisation of women's land rights on agricultural land and calls for immediate collective action aimed at removing the structural barriers in inheritance, leasing, and joint ownership of privately held land in favour of women.

Mobilising Civil Society towards Right to Free Public Health and Education in Jharkhand

July 11, 2016

Oxfam India believes that the right to universal access to good quality healthcare and education is a practical way of closing the ever-widening gap between the rich and the poor. Oxfam India works in six states to empower the community to improve accountability of public delivery systems of healthcare and education. While in most states the initiatives on health and education are exclusively implemented, in Jharkhand, the two strands have come together. Oxfam India has supported three nongovernment organisations (NGOs) in Jharkhand -- Child In Need Institute (CINI), Nav Bharat Jagriti Kendra (NBJK) and Society for Participatory Action and Reflection (SPAR) -- in three districts since 2011. Oxfam India, along with its partners, works closely with community advocates in an effort to strengthen the civil society movement towards realising the entitlements for health via the National Rural Health Mission (now National Health Mission) and for education through the Right To Education (RTE) Act 2009. 

Mobilising Women Farmers to Secure Land Rights in Uttar Pradesh

May 24, 2016

Oxfam India is part of a global movement working to fight poverty, injustice and inequality; in India it works in seven focus state. Oxfam India aims to improve poor people's access, rights and entitlements over land and natural resources in order to support and augment their livelihoods. Through its programme on smallholder agriculture, Oxfam India focuses on socialising the identity of women as farmers, strengthening the economic leadership of women farmers, ensuring their land rights and making public investments in agriculture accessible to small farmers, especially women farmers. Oxfam India is working to bridge this gap and is supporting the AAROH Campaign in Uttar Pradesh to bring social and legal recognition to women farmers. This paper gives an overview of the programme and its key milestones and achievements. 

Community-Based Monitoring and Grievance Redressal in Schools in Delhi

May 16, 2016

Oxfam India is part of a global movement working to fight poverty, injustice and inequality. In India, it works in seven states. Oxfam India believes that right to education is important to close the gap between the 'haves' and the 'havenots'. As a founding member of the Right to Education (RTE) Forum, it is working towards increasing people's access to quality, universal and inclusive elementary education in the mainstream public education system, with special focus on the Dalits, Adivasis, Muslims and girls. In Delhi, Oxfam India supports Joint Operation for Social Help (JOSH) to establish a community-based monitoring mechanism for schools, improve the quality of education, influence the functioning of government schools, and campaign to ensure effective implementation of the RTE Act. This paper gives an overview of the programme and some of its work so far.

Activating Village Committees to Manage Forest Resources in Odisha

May 6, 2016

Oxfam India is part of a global movement working to fight poverty, injustice and inequality. In India, it works in seven states. Oxfam India's programme on Fair Sharing of Natural Resources is aimed at promoting tribal livelihoods, food security and environment protection, and control and sustainable management of natural resources by facilitating access to rights, like the Forest Rights Act, recognised by government. In Odisha, Oxfam India has been working with Regional Centre for Development and Cooperation (RCDC), an NGO, since 2010 to enhance capacities of communities to claim their rights, facilitate participatory natural resource management, conserve and manage forest resources, and promote livelihoods.This paper gives an overview of the programme and some of its work so far.

Addressing Violence Against Women and Girls Among the Muslim Community in Odisha

May 6, 2016

Oxfam India is part of a global movement working to fight poverty, injustice and inequality; in India, it works in seven focus states. Oxfam India works against social acceptance of Violence Against Women (VAW), which is one of the most pervasive and the least recognised human rights violations across the world. Through its Gender Justice programme, Oxfam India works towards enhancing women's access to formal and informal justice systems to end violence in their lives. Oxfam India joined hands with Friend's Association for Rural Reconstruction (FARR), a women's rights organisation based in Odisha in 2009, to reach out to women survivors of domestic violence from the Muslim community. The objective was to increase their access to justice. This paper gives an overview of the programme and some of its work so far.

Cash for Food: The Need for Caution

May 6, 2016

The Union government notified the Cash Transfer of Food Subsidy Rules on 21 August 2015, without much publicity. The proposal to introduce cash transfers instead of foodgrains in the Public Distribution System (PDS), via the National Food Security Act 2013 (NFSA), is ill-conceived and, if implemented, will be harmful to food security in the country. Concerns abound in relation to a programme of cash for food replacing the current PDS. These include denial of assured minimum foodgrains to the poor, enhanced vulnerability to inflation, inadequate access to banks, and decreased public procurement at minimum support prices. In a context where leakages in PDS are steadily declining and the NFSA offers greater coverage (and hence lower targeting errors), what is required is an expansion of a strengthened PDS rather than dismantling it. Moreover, as FAO (2015) discusses, many researchers remain unconvinced that cash transfers would bring about drastic reductions in leakages in welfare programmes, as there is nothing intrinsic to cash transfers which renders them less vulnerable to leakages: irregularities are already found to be high in existing cash transfer programmes.

National Food Security Act 2013: Moving from exclusion to inclusion

May 6, 2016

India has one of the lowest per capita daily supply of calories, protein and fat, according to the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD). One of the biggest contradictions of contemporary India is the unconscionably high rates of child malnutrition and the largest number of hungry people in the world, even as it emerged as one of the fastest growing economies. India has been a net exporter of foodgrains for more than a decade now and the government warehouses stock foodgrains at levels much higher than the required buffer norms. India has malnutrition levels almost double the levels of many countries in Africa. This problem needs a multi-sectoral approach including diet diversification, women's empowerment, education, health, safe drinking water, sanitation, and hygiene. The National Food Security Act (NFSA), 2013, which covers two thirds of the Indian population with subsidised food and universal entitlements for women and children, is a tentative first step towards solving this problem. There is a need for speedy implementation along with steps to avoid exclusion of poor households, and setting up an independent grievance redressal mechanism.